Government Relations and Lobbying

RAM government lobbying for restaruants

RAM's Government Affairs Team Is Here For You

Decisions are made daily Annapolis and in county councils around the state of Maryland that can have major impacts on small business owners. The reality is—small business owners don’t have time to monitor every proposal that comes out of the Legislature. That’s where the RAM Government Affairs team comes in.

Our Goals Are To:

  - Fight burdensome regulations
  - Educate lawmakers about restaurants' role in the economy
  - Help members interpret and comply with laws and regulations

government relations and lobbying

RAM is your advocate at the state, county and local levels of government. RAM and its members lobby lawmakers to influence decisions and defeat legislation that would raise operating costs for the restaurant industry in Maryland.

  - Recent Legislative Victories
  - Licenses, Permitting & Certifications
  - Maryland Elected Officials

details the legislative outcome of bills that RAM lobbiedOur 2016 Legislative Wrap-Up details the legislative outcome of bills that RAM lobbied in 2016.

   - View the Legislative Wrap-Up

Recent Legislative Victories

DEFEATED: Baltimore City $15 Minimum Wage
On August 15, 2016 the Baltimore City Council failed to collect the necessary votes to pass a $15 Minimum Wage Bill in Baltimore City. The bill would have incrementally raised Baltimore City’s minimum wage to $15/hour (currently $8.75) by 2022 and increased the tip wage to $5/hour (currently $3.63) by 2020. RAM and its members worked vigorously with city council members to educate them about the restaurant industry and to explain that the bill would actually have hurt those it was intended to help. The bill will likely return in the Fall of 2016.

DEFEATED: State-Wide Minimum Wage Increase
This bill would have accelerated the minimum wage increase already in effect in Maryland. Rather than staggering the increase to $10.10 per hour by 2018, this bill would have raised the minimum wage up to $10.10 an hour in 2016. The minimum wage would then rise again to $15.00 per hour by 2020. This bill would have also repealed Maryland's tip credit and indexed future minimum wage increases to inflation. Large increases in the minimum wage lead to laying off employees, reducing work hours and price increases. The employees who this legislation is meant to help will be the group that is hurt the most.

DEFEATED: Paid Sick Leave Requirement
This bill would have required employers to allow full-time and part-time to accrue sick and safe leave at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. This arrangement doesn't work for restaurants the same way it works for offices like an accounting firm, for example. A restaurant business would need to bring in replacement workers for employees who use accrued paid leave, which significantly increases labor costs. Most restaurants have flexible scheduling policies that allow employees to pick up extra shifts to make up for lost hours during the pay period when sick or for other personal reasons.

DEFEATED: Restrictive Scheduling Penalty
This bill would have required employers to schedule all employees 21 days in advance or pay a penalty for any changes made after that date, unless all affected employees agreed to the schedule change in writing. Foodservice employers need the flexibility to adjust staffing needs according to the constantly fluctuating consumer demand, so this bill would have made scheduling cooks, servers and management untenable. Additional hours would also have had to be offered to current employees before hiring new staff, which had the potential to create HR compliance issues.

Business Licenses, Permitting & Certifications

Local Agencies & Offices
Each Maryland county and Baltimore City issues various permits and licenses in accordance with local ordinances. The issuing authority varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Below you'll find a complete list of local issuing authorities in the State of Maryland, organized by county.

  View By County:  
  - Anne Arundel County - Charles County - Prince George's County  
  - Allegany County - Dorchester County - Queen Anne's County  
  - Baltimore City - Frederick County - Somerset County  
  - Baltimore County - Garrett County - St. Mary's County  
  - Calvert County - Harford County - Talbot County  
  - Caroline County - Howard County - Washington County  
  - Carroll County - Kent County - Wicomico County  
  - Cecil County - Montgomery County - Worcester County  
State Agencies & Offices
The following link provides a list of Maryland State departments and agencies that foodservice/hospitality businesses often need to contact to conduct their business.
  - View List of State Agencies & Offices

Maryland Elected Officials

Knowing who your elected officials are and contact them to express industry concerns about important legislative issues is critical to RAM's lobbying/grassroots efforts on your behalf. The links below are useful for getting to know your elected officials and pending legislative issues.
  - Identify My State & Federal Elected Officials
  - Maryland General Assembly
  - US Senate
  - US House of Representatives

affordable care act